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British Virgin Islands

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British Virgin Islands

Once the lair of pirates in search of hiding places for their stolen booty, the BVIs have drawn divers in large numbers ever since the filming of the movie, "The Deep," which featured the historic wreck of the Rhone. Also one of the world's top cruising grounds, local dive operators offer rendezvous diving to cruising divers who want to take advantage of both the great diving and sailing that these islands have to offer.

British Virgin Islands Information

Diving in BVI

The most recognized dive in the BVI owes its popularity to the 1977 movie, The Deep, and probably in large part to Jacqueline Bisset, and the vision of her exploring the wreck in the underwater scenes in the movie. That said, for any divers in the BVI, the RMS Rhone is worthy of dozens of dives, even without Ms. Bisset. Just off Salt Island at Black Rock Point, this iconic dive site and wreck is justly considered one of the top dives in the world. The wreck, which has been down since, 1867, is dived in two sections, the bow and the stern. The wrecks have become a vibrant, colorful reef, with a ghostly profile defined by the ribs and remains of the ship. Shoals of snapper roam the wreck, which is covered with orange cup corals, sponges and corals. A true kaleidoscope of textures, many parts of the ship such as davits, portholes and bulkheads form the scope of this impressive dive.

Exceptional diving can be found off the approximately 60 islands that make up the BVIs. The visibility averages 100-feet and includes wrecks, shallow coral gardens, spur and groove, pinnacles, drifts, walls, canyons and swim-throughs. So, there’s something for everyone. The selection depends upon which island and which dive resort you’re staying. Most of the diving takes place off Norman, Peter, Salt, Cooper, Peter, Virgin Gorda, and the Dogs.

In addition the Rhone, the 246-foot Chikuzen is quickly rising up the ranks through its stellar reputation for attracting just about everything in the sea due to its exposed location 7.5 miles off Tortola. Virtually intact, but lying on its port side, the wreck ripples with huge aggregations of schooling fish, as well as passing sharks, turtles and rays.

Most of the reef dives in the BVI are not particularly deep or demanding, making it a great place for divers of all levels. And since all of the waters off the BVI are protected by the National Parks Trust and mooring buoys, the site are well known for their abundance and variety of marine life, including huge groupers, snapper, tarpon, jacks and all the interesting blennies, eels and invertebrates that like to hang out in the reefscape. The Baths, on Virgin Gorda, while not a dive site, is a memorable and unique place to snorkel and explore among the massive rocks on this beach.

Visibility hovers between 60-100 feet, but the outer reefs can push 120-feet, and the water temperature fluctuates between 78°F and 82°F. Read about BVI’s dive sites here.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: All U.S. citizens are required to present a passport, and do not need to obtain a visa. EXIT REQUIREMENTS: All persons leaving the BVI pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $20 leaving by air.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entry into BVI. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.org.

Culture and Customs

Probably more than any other Caribbean island, pirates and pirate lore have become an indelible part of the fabric of life in the BVI. Pirates from Blackbeard to Henry Morgan, and their exploits, are celebrated in the BVI with a strong reverence. There are numerous places, such as Norman and Dead Chest Island, with rumors of lost pirate gold. The islands also have become renowned places to sail, with many secluded and quiet coves and bays throughout to drop anchor and enjoy that certain freedom offered by sailing the whims of the wind. BVI has several bars that are only accessible by boat, too. Carnival is widely celebrated in late July and there are numerous festivals throughout the year that celebrate culture, music, food, heritage, and dance.

Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access

Electricity in St. Vincent is 110/220volts, 60 cycles, so no adapter will be needed for US visitors. The country code for the BVI is 284 and direct dial service is fast and clear. Check with your service provider for long distance/roaming information and costs. Internet service is available at the larger hotels and resort and at Internet cafes.

Water Quality

Water quality is good throughout most of the islands. Bottled water is recommended.

Language & Currency

English is the official language. The local currency is the U.S. dollar.

History, Art, and Culture

When Columbus saw the Virgin Islands Archipelago, he named then after the 11,000 virgins that followed Saint Ursula. The Spanish quickly followed in his wake looking, of course, for gold. None was found, so they moved on, which left the Virgin Islands unprotected and Pirates, freebooters and other famous rogues, found a way of life among these islands looting passing vessels. Most ships that ventured from the New World to Europe had to pass through a gauntlet that included Blackbeard, Sir Frances Drake, and others. The British came in the 17th century and established sugar plantations. When slavery was abolished, the plantations crumbled and life was peaceful until the 1960s, when tourism kicked in to take advantage of the charm, enchantment, and beauty of the BVI. Read about historic sites in BVI here.

Dive primer
  • Water Temp: 79-82°
  • Visibility: 80-100'
  • Wetsuit: 1.5mm to 3mm
Best time to travel
  • Year-round
Favorite dive sites
  • Wreck of the RMS Rhone
  • The Indians
  • The Dogs
Topside attractions
  • Sailing in the famous Drake Bay
  • The Baths, Virgin Gorda
  • Cooper's Island Pirate's Lair
  • CARIBBEAN
    0-CARIBBEAN,CARIBBEAN,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Caribbean.aspx
    • Aruba
    • CDA-AUA|Aruba|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Aruba.aspx
    • Bahamas
    • CDA-BS|Bahamas|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Bahamas.aspx
    • Barbados
    • CDA-BGI|Barbados|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Barbados.aspx
    • Bonaire
    • CDA-BON|Bonaire|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Bonaire.aspx
    • CDA-KY|Cayman Islands - Grand Cayman|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/GrandCayman.aspx
      CDA-KY|Cayman Islands - Little Cayman|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/LittleCayman.aspx
      CDA-KY|Cayman Islands - Cayman Brac|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/CaymanBrac.aspx
    • Curacao
    • CDA-CUR|Curacao|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Curacao.aspx
    • Dominica
    • CDA-DOM|Dominica|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Dominica.aspx
    • Grenada
    • CDA-GND|Grenada|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Grenada.aspx
    • Puerto Rico
    • CDA-SJU|Puerto Rico|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/PuertoRico.aspx
    • Saba
    • CDA-SAB|Saba|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Saba.aspx
    • St. Eustatius
    • CDA-EUX|St. Eustatius|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/StEustatius.aspx
    • St. Kitts & Nevis
    • CDA-SKB|St. Kitts & Nevis|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/StKitts.aspx
    • St. Lucia
    • CDA-SLU|St. Lucia|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/StLucia.aspx
    • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
    • CDA-SVD|St. Vincent & The Grenadines|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/StVincent.aspx
    • Tobago
    • CDA-TAB|Tobago|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Tobago.aspx
    • Turks and Caicos
    • CDA-PLS|Turks and Caicos|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Turks-Caicos.aspx
    • British Virgin Islands
    • CDA-BVI|British Virgin Islands|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/BritishVirginIslands.aspx
  • MEXICO
    1-MEXICO,MEXICO,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Mexico.aspx
    • Baja
    • CDA-BAJ|Baja|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Baja/Mexico.aspx
    • Cozumel
    • CDA-CZM|Cozumel|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Cozumel/Mexico.aspx
    • Riviera Maya
    • CDA-RIV|Riviera Maya|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/RivieraMaya/Mexico.aspx
  • CENTRAL-AMERICA
    2-CENTRAL-AMERICA,CENTRAL-AMERICA,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/CentralAmerica.aspx
    • Belize
    • CDA-BEL|Belize|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Belize.aspx
    • Costa Rica
    • CDA-COS|Costa Rica|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/CostaRica.aspx
    • Honduras
    • CDA-HON|Honduras|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Honduras.aspx
  • PACIFIC
    4-PACIFIC,PACIFIC,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Pacific.aspx
    • Australia
    • CDA-AUS|Australia|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Australia.aspx
    • Fiji
    • CDA-FIJ|Fiji|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Fiji.aspx
    • Galapagos
    • CDA-GAL|Galapagos|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Galapagos.aspx
    • Hawaii
    • CDA-HAW|Hawaii|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Hawaii.aspx
    • Micronesia
    • CDA-MIC|Micronesia|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Micronesia.aspx
    • Solomons
    • CDA-SOL|Solomons|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Solomons.aspx
    • Tahiti
    • CDA-TAH|Tahiti|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Tahiti.aspx
    • Tonga
    • CDA-TON|Tonga|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Tonga.aspx
    • Vanuatu
    • CDA-VAN|Vanuatu|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Vanuatu.aspx
  • EXOTIC
    5-EXOTIC,EXOTIC,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Exotic.aspx
    • Indonesia
    • CDA-IND|Indonesia|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Indonesia.aspx
    • Malaysia
    • CDA-MAL|Malaysia|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Malaysia.aspx
    • Maldives
    • CDA-MAV|Maldives|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Maldives.aspx
    • Papua New Guinea
    • CDA-PNG|Papua New Guinea|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/PapuaNewGuinea.aspx
    • Philippines
    • CDA-PHI|Philippines|http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Philippines.aspx
  • ADVENTURE
    6-ADVENTURE,ADVENTURE,http://www.caradonna.com/Scuba-Diving-Vacations/Ultimate-Adventure.aspx
    • Great White Expeditions
    • CDA-GWE|Great White Expeditions|http://www.caradonna.com/Adventure/Ultimate/Shark/Index.aspx
    • Photography Expeditions
    • CDA-PHEXP|Photography Expeditions|http://www.caradonna.com/Adventures/photos.aspx
    • Sardine Run
    • CDA-SARDINE|Sardine Run|http://www.caradonna.com/Adventures/Sardine.aspx

Packages booked online are subject to availability. You will be contacted by a booking agent upon completion of your booking. Not responsible for errors in typesetting.